Helga visits Grand Bahama to help with sustainable tourism

By DENISE MAYCOCK

Tribune Freeport Reporter

dmaycock@tribunemedia.net

HELGA Piaget, CEO and founder of Passion Sea which is an international project to spread the awareness of the importance of clean water among the world’s youth, was in Grand Bahama on Tuesday.

Mrs Piaget, wife of Yves Piaget, the CEO and president of the luxury Swiss eponymous jewelry and watch company, toured some eco-tourism sites, including the Lucayan National Park, with its underground caves in East Grand Bahama and the Garden of the Groves.

She also visited with students at one of the eco-schools in Freeport and also met with Ministry of Education officials to discuss her Passion Sea programme.

Jeffrey Pinder, a senior executive of sustainable tourism at the Ministry of Tourism, along with colleague Gina Turner, who is responsible for school education, accompanied Mrs Piaget during her visit to Grand Bahama.

“We are delighted to have Helga Piaget here on short notice, and the purpose is to collaborate with our sustainable tourism partners and helping her accomplish one of her international projects related to the education system focusing on water,” he said.

Mr Pinder said that the Bahamas is surrounded by water and it is one of the main reasons why tourists come to this country.

“We are pleased to assist her in connecting with the key persons who will help achieve her objective, which is an art flag programme,” he said.

He noted that her presence here in Freeport also provides them with the opportunity to connect with Mrs Piaget and her affiliates who can assist them in Grand Bahama with some of their sustainable objectives.

“One of our objectives is to convert some of our children from high school into the industry, and we plan to do that through the education department, and I am supported by colleague Gina Turner, who is responsible for school education, and who will be assisting us with the programme over the next 12 months,” Mr Pinder explained.

Mrs Piaget said that Passion Sea is an international project that focuses especially on the younger generation.

“We want to make them aware of water, the environment, pollution, and everything that goes with water. We especially want to make them aware that we are water and we need it for our daily life and that it is vital for us and our planet to have clean water,” she stated.

“We are in the century where it is getting difficult because of pollution on land and in the sea already. And we have to stop trash and change the habits of our global population, and that starts with the children for they are the next generation.

“I believe in this work. That is why I am here . . . and I am very happy to have met these wonderful people here and have been able to see Grand Bahama today and will come back."

Mrs Piaget said that she enjoyed visiting with the Bahamian students and was able to learn a lot during her spent time in Grand Bahama.

“I was very impressed about the education that the children get here, and I think many countries could look at that and do the same,” she said.

“The way the children responded to the teacher was incredible; they are so well educated and explained to me many things about the school and the way they are trained,” she added.

Mrs Piaget said the students were able to show her a garden they planted comprising various medicinal plants.

“It is wonderful that they get in touch with all these things because nature is so important and at the end of the day, it’s our home and our planet. And it is good that they know about natural medicine – it was really interesting,” she said.

Ivan Butler, district superintendent of schools in West Grand Bahama, and Yvonne Ward, district superintendent of schools in East Grand Bahama and the Cays, were pleased with the Passion Sea initiative for schools.

“The Ministry of Education is always pleased to partner with any initiative that helps us to educate our students when it comes to conservation and preservation of the natural environment," said Mr Butler.

“We are very pleased with the Passion Sea initiative, and we are glad to have Mrs Piaget onboard, and us able to extend this into our schools and have more of our schools become eco-friendly."

Mr Butler noted that an environmental initiative is expected to take place in Bimini where students will be creating a nature trail this weekend.

“We are very happy about what is going on in our schools, and we hope to spread the message throughout the length and breadth of the country because we live in such a wonderful country, and we want to preserve and protect it for future generations,” Mr Butler said.